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campaign about the 100%. it's thursday, september 20th. and this is "now." i'm in for alex wagner today. joining me on the program, lynn sweet, nicholas confessore of "the new york times," msnbc political analyst richard wolffe and "the new york times" magazine editor hugo lindgren. team romney is trying to turn the tables on the president. the governor is highlighting a video from 1998 of then-state senator barack obama talking about redistribution. >> i think the trick is figuring out how to destruction tur government systems that pool resources and, hence, facilitate summary distribution, because i actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot. >> now, romney says those old
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remarks prove the president believes in government more than the private sector. >> this idea of redistribution follows from the idea that if you have a business you didn't build it. someone else did that. he said he believes in redistribution. all right. there are people who believe that you can create a stronger economy and a brighter future if you take from some people and give to other people. now this -- >> on a campaign conference call, rnc chairman rance priebus called the comments, quote, outrageous. a new memo from the campaign says, president obama's vision for america is a government-centered society, where government grows bigger. team obama says, however, that the real issue is who all this redistribution benefits. >> if you want to talk about redistribution, governor romney and congressman ryan would redistribute wealth from middle
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class families to the wealthiest americans. >> now, while critics say that romney's infamous comments about the 47% show that he only cares about maybe the 1%, the republican nominee has a nuancer for that, too. >> this is a campaign about the 100%. and over the last several years, you have seen great somewhere greater divisiveness in the country. we hope to come back together. instead you've seen us pull apart. >> whether we're pulled apart or not, if you're running for office, 100% is a better goal than 1% or 47. right to lynn sweet. first the philosophy we're seeing on display, redistribution, sounds look a bad thing to some people. of course, any government program that takes money and men makes broad decisions in a democracy about what to do with it redistributes, done it? >> what you call this in a neutral way a discussion on tax equity. we're going to have government, no matter who is the president and you have to make decisions
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on resources. now, if you -- this redistribution word, which is i word intended to be befuddle people because it's not a word that real people use, we could just substitute tax equity. >> are you saying i'm not a real person? >> i'm saying by using this word, it's a bit coded, first of all, about why don't we call, even if it's robin hoodism, that we're talking about, robin hood, by the way, probably could get elected mayor of nottingham. so i think that romney goes into this argument at his own peril because you're not necessarily saying, redistribute bad. the tax rates. moses did not bring down the tax rates on tablets from mt. sinai. these are things that you decide under negotiation. >> i want to go to nick. we have approval ratings for moses. >> i'm confused. i assume they have some focus group data that tells them this word is a hot button for some
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voters they want to reach. the fact is that concept is baked into american government, has been for a hundred years, i don't see mitt romney proposing a flat tax. he does change the tax brackets, taxes the rich less but still taxes them more than he taxes the poor and that's redistribution. that's how modern democracy works with a tax code. i'm perplexed by it. >> isn't that part of a problem, for a candidate assailed for having a certain lack of detail, mitt romney is now launching this attack without a counterredistribution plan. >> well, i think lynn said the word is a bit coded and i think it's a lot coded. i think it is -- it's meant to confuse people and it's meant to create this sort of complicated concept that government's doing something devious that you didn't think they were doing or it's going to druouble cross yo. it strikes me as odd, nick mentioned the polling data that they must have that supports this idea. to hear him mention it, attach it it the we didn't build that,
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you didn't build that idea, it builds on a lameness upon lameness. it layers -- >> layers of lameness. >> layers of lameness. strikes me as not -- if they're trying to make a new posture for mitt romney right now, here he is look like a real underdog, a strange position for someone like mitt romney, that's where he's looking -- >> on the robin hood point look at one thing jonathan said, when you look at comments from back in the day, in context it shows that obama, in 1998 was a decidedly moderate figure. he asserted that he believes in redistribution but only to a degree and it's necessary to provide greater opportunity to participate in the market which is also one of the least radical justifications for redistribution. >> that is -- >> go ahead. >> if i can quickly jump in, being around in '98, one of the myths about obama is that he was, and always has been, some kind of a secret super liberal.
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that's never been the case. >> right. >> that speaks to that point. >> he is the worst socialist i've ever seen. let's just be real. by the way, in the worlds's most stupid election, this must be the most stupid point. even a flat tax is redistributed. you're redistributing tax dollars even under a flat tax because wealthy people pay more, even in that sense. if you don't believe in distribution, redistribution -- >> you don't believe in government. >> you don't believe in any public services at all. can we have a debate about sewers, water supply, about roads, everything? i'm not talking about invest, just the notion that you only get the services you pay for. i mean, is that really what the republican party stands for here? >> richard -- >> we're not talking about social security. >> the sneaking suspicion of conservative voters and those in the middle the government is taking tax money and giving it
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to people who don't deserve. it's an age-old suspicion in american politics, something that pops up in presidential campaigns. and it ties into their welfare tax, the whole idea is that someone is getting a deal that you're not getting. and that has been effective in the past. >> and the government can be reformed by weeding out freeloaders. that's the solution to it. you don't have to do much more, you get people who don't deserve to be getting the money, cut them off. >> it plays into the idea that whatever the government's doing redistributed with your money, is bad. of course one of the most progressive institutions that government supports is the military. and that is the ultimate redistribution program because our soldiers redistribute the ultimate rinsk, sacrifice for te country for those who serve. the military is one both parties support as government but why doesn't that apply to other programs? >> i think because this is -- instead of talking about whatever program that romney has a beef with obama about, pick
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one, legitimate policy differences, talk about something you don't like you would do different using one word as umbrella word that takes on everything you don't like, letting people fill in blanks. the idea a campaign strategy, but if you're talking about public -- hefty public policy decision when you use this vague word, coded, to describe a million programs the government puts on, some we like, some we don't, that's what congress does, that's what government does every day, decide. frankly that's what your condo board does. no one would go -- >> it's what your insurer does. >> yes. >> that's nature. redisboo redisboo redistribution, if republicans campaign against the notion we do anything together -- we're not talking libertarian anymore, this is off the scale of even where the ron pauls of the country have been.
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look, i know they're throwing up stuff. it's like air force one has this thing that they spit out in cases of heat seeking missile. >> water birthing there. >> talking about whether it's effective. >> a lot of metaphors. >> it's a hot panel. one other conservative idea from jennifer ruben, arch conservative writer for "the washington post", and she argues this is a winning issue. she says that while there were problems how romney spoke to his donors about the famous 47%, the terrain on which he now finds himself is exceptionally favorable and frames the question this way, are you better off with obama's government centric approach or will you do better under an opportunity society? >> i think that's -- they want to try to get the conversation there. but i think that the problem is, all of the missteps. as john heilemann said on the show many times, and other shows, too, every day that mitt romney isn't talking about the economy is a wasted day. and you know, the economy's at the core of what this -- what
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this argument is. yet, it muddies it, too. i think there's a clearer message to make about the economy and job creation and about boosting incomes of middle class americans and more basic positive stuff than being like that guy's communist, he's a seek government lover, we have the tape. it's seems like an indirect and not strong way to go about it. >> hugo has john heilemann for authority. lynn has moses. we're going it see how this plays out after the break. we're going to look at red state blues. there are some new poll up ins that show support is shrinking for governor romney, and key republicans at the same time think his time is running out. >> he's been a mystery for a lot of us. we keep waiting for what we hope is a revealing moment, that reveals his true character. unfortunately this tape is that moment but it's revealed his character in a way that surprised us.
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but what i think also is that part of the problem, i think, is that mitt romney at his core is really not a hard core conservative. >> how can governor romney right the ship? we'll ask some rescue plans next on "now." americans believe they should be in charge of their own future. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪
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new polls today show president obama is opening up lead in key battleground states. the president up in the big three, leading by seven points
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in ohio and virginia, by five points in florida. marquette poll from wisconsin illustrates how bad the past month has been for mitt romney. a three-point margin expanded to 14 point. more important than the raw number is is a big breakthrough. gaps are outside the plarjen of error but romney isn't seeing support slip on the ground among voters. suzanna martinez, once rumoreds a romney running mate, we have a lot of people at poverty level in new mexico and count as much as anybody else. deane hellor went further, i don't view the world the same way mitt romney does. as a u.s. senator my job is to represent every one of those votes when they voted for me or against me. at the weekly stakeout yesterday, they refused to take questions about romney. this morning, house speaker john
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boehner repeatedly dodged questions about the famous 47%. >> do you agree with mitt romney's remarks that 47% of the country see themselves as victims or dependent on the government and it's not his job to worry about the election. >> the election is about jobs. >> do you agree with that? >> the election is about jobs. it's not about anything else. >> it's not about anything else? it's about jobs. of course, i think one of the problems here for john boehner, folks, that is the jobs discussion and the tax discussion and what we do with the tax money, as we were talking about previously are all interrelated. john boehner and the house republicans have a lot of excitement and energy around being courageous politicians, changing the tone in washington, being straight shooters. john boehner couldn't truthfully answer the question. he didn't try to. he seems to think that talking point is enough. >> it went out of style when
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paul ryan became a running mate. he may not have read the latest memo, it's now a choice election. it's about much more than that. it's talk abouting jobs, to talk about so much more than the unemployment rate. >> right. what is the government going to do about jobs? that would involve something, some government action either way, right? >> it would. if we're talking out -- you can't talk about outside political context. when boehner talks about jobs -- i cut him slack here. if he made any comment about that one way or the other he was making his life more difficult, and more important, remember, he is responsible for keeping the republican majority in the house. he knew anything he would say would just give -- would create potential problems for members and contested arguments. >> politically that was fine? he did what he had to do. >> he did what he had to do. there's bigger fish to fry than whether or not you get john boehner to comment on this.
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on the substance of your question what he does have to answer to, what is congress doing now to create jobs soon? that is a question that cannot be answered because they're not doing anything soon to have any impact on the jobs. >> that goes to details. ploit politico has a story about the more mitt strategy, more mitt and more details. the article reports that mitt romney and his campaign are settling on a rescue plan to show more of him in ad speeches and campaign appearance. the romney plan described by aides in interviews this week is, this is what the article argues, is an acknowledgement that romney is in enough of a hole that he cannot depend on the presidential debates to turn his candidacy around. >> ouch. ouch. >> richard -- >> broken the glass on the red button, haven't they? >> richard, with the ouch reply. you've traveled with candidates and presidents. you've said this before, the presidential debates are a big turning point. anybody who says obama has this in the bag doesn't understand
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majority of undecided voters will have the first interaction with the campaign in early october. is it true, though, that even that might not be enough for romney at this point? >> it depends how well he performs that high wire act to pull off. it is true that debates can move the polls very significantly. so there is nothing fixed right now. this game is nowhere near close to the buzzer. a couple of things. politico strategy says more mitt but it says he's campaigning more with paul ryan, that's less mitt and more paul ryan. >> yeah. true. >> secondly, you know, if your candidate or something out of the candidate has become a litmus test for every electeded republican, do you agree with this guy or not? if you agree with him, you're here, unelectable because comments are out of the mainstream. who knew there were that many socialists in the republican part that would want to stand with these people?
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it will take time to undo. when john kerry couldn't answer the question whether he would vote for the war, knowing what you know today, would you vote for the war in iraq, that became the question for every democrat, it's a disaster russ way to run up to the final stages of any election. >> and i agree with richard about the debates. i think that the, you know, romney's one knock-out punch in the debates from being back in the race. when did we see him have a knock-out punch? there's a bigger issue that the comments of the senators and governors allude to, nate silver has a column about the what he projects is the odds of the democrats holding on to control of the senate. he projected that, in august, at 39%, it's now over 70%. incredible shift in a very short time. a lot of that has to do with local circumstances and local races and candidates. it's certainly not helped by the lack of a strong, clear
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candidate at the top of the party. >> this point that you're both making about why has romney become an albatross on the party before he's even gotten to the debates, before the country's been introduced to him the country's paid attention. look at favorabilty, mitt romney has a problem that no major party nominee has had. look here at circle, this is the problem. the red, negative, shows a negative net favorability for mitt romney, which is worse than every nominee in both parties going back since pew's been taking numbers since 1988. isn't that the bigger picture here? you have a guy that, at the basic level, has not won over the public to view him favorably even as a loser. john mccain, on his way to losing the election, was still viewed with respect by a loett voters. mitt romney doesn't have that, does he? >> no. and that was something that the
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campaign knew was always an issue, that obama had way, way higher scores on likability, even if you didn't like his policies. this was always a strength. how 0 you repair? it's not a policy matter. how do you make somebody more likable? they tried at the convention. use mrs. romney more, bring the sons on more. maybe this is what campaigns are supposed to do. figure these things out. i've seen mitt romney in person. he has a lot of personality, personable traits. he's not all unfavorable if you see him. even if you don't like this policies, that's the job of a campaign is to make that come out. >> for the final thought here, they're not in a bin whed wherey need the country to fall in love. they need a few more vote to fall in like. >> right. >> they haven't been able to do that. >> he has to be on the trail more. he hasn't been on the trail very much. so this whole sort of more mitt plan is a little bit cw.
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>> what does ta mean? >> conventional wisdom. he's had a light campaign schedule on the trail for a guy trying to unseat a sitting president. he's going to bring more mitt but the question that we're discussing is, do the voters want more mitt? >> in "the new york times" today, you a double byline story, why romney's off the trail, partly to fundraise. we'll talk about the money flood. the conventional wisdom, as nicholas confessore would say, indicates that the influx of big campaign cash is destroying our political system. a new analysis says it's more comply indicated. we'll ask james bennett about the price of politics on "now." [ thunder crashes ] [ male announcer ] if you think all batteries are the same... consider this: when the unexpected happens, there's one brand of battery more emergency workers trust in their maglites:
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at a senate committee hearing yesterday, matthew olson said this about the attack on the u.s. consulate that killed ambassador chris stevens. >> they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy. what we don't have, at this point, is specific intelligence that there was a significant advanced planning or coordination for the attack. >> if it was terrorism, what does that signal for u.s. foreign policy in the reegen? we're going to look at that ahead on "now." jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring.
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governor mitt romney will hold a campaign rally in florida today. this is only his second one in the last six days, however. instead, mitt romney has been crisscrossing the country on an important fund-raising tour. according to "the new york times," romney desperately immediates money to keep up with
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president obama's ad blitz. in key swing states obama's been spending more than romney. mitt romney, as we know, received a big boost from super pacs and it's possible in coming years campaigns could look a lot more like those super pac spending machines. in a new atlantic article, james bennet look at foot soldiers fighting to eliminate all campaign financial restrictions and predict in a couple of years politicians will push to abolish contribution limits and allow candidates to accept and spend unlimited amounts from any source. his article is the cover story in the october issue of "the atlantic." james bennet joins us now from washington. how are you? >> good, thanks. thanks for having me on. >> thanks for being here. a fascinating article that people should check out. part of what you do is trace the longer history, not the past few years. outside spending has mounted. but go back to early 1900s,
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where you argue there was a real drum beat of incremental campaign finance reform from limiting what certain entities and unions and corporations could do to ultimately, after watergate, limiting exactly how candidates raise money and were able to fund their campaign. and then you point to sort of in the '70s, money equals speech. after mccain/feingold, the bans on soft money. then recently limitations on what used to be ads and restricts on ads up in the sort of the homestretch of campaign season. >> yeah. >> in that long history, part of your argument that maybe reformers and progressives have made a mistake, sort of a category error in thinking about the last few years as only the recent explosion of money and corruption? >> yeah. i mean, ari, you're right, it's an old story, money and politics. we walk around thinking there's too much money in campaigns,
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always will be. as nick can tell you, among others on the panel today, what we're experiencing this time of around is a step change. and i think in a lot of ways it's taking us back to where we were 100 years ago in the gilded age. the amount of money flowing into the campaign, the amount of undisclosed money, money from sources that aren't ever publicly identified is something really new. something we haven't seen in decades. >> yeah, justice scalia, not necessarily known as the large es progressive on the court, you point out in the article that he basically says, in favor of disclosure, requiring people to stand up in public for political acts fosters civic courage without which democracy is doomed. he goes on to say, for my part i don't look forward to a society which thinks the supreme court has anonymous campaigns even exercises the direct democracy initiative hidden from the public scrutiny and protected
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from the accountability of criticism. that would not resemble the home of the brave. is he indirectly saying that the type of people and entities that benefit from spending in the dark, is he saying they're cowards, do you think? >> i think he esenselely is saying that. he fears for a democracy in which people are able to spend money that way. and it's an important -- people tend to blame the 2010 citizens united decision for the supreme court for everything happening in terms of the money pouring into politics. it is -- bears a lot of the responsibility in a permissive legal environment contributed hugely to this. it's also a function of a completely broken regulatory regime. but the supreme court making that decision, 8-1, the justices came out very strongly in favor of disclosure. only one opposed to it is clarence thomas. so, there's plenty of reason to think that the supreme court
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would be hugely in favor of an act that's pending in congress called the disclose act, that would compel people to stand up and identify themselves when they spend money on political advertising. >> i thought the article was important in the sense it cut against this notion that is out there of i partisan supreme court on the issues when in fact, things many people don't agree with, like the treatment of corporations as persons for legal purposes, is something many of the justices agree on, not along party lines and likewise the notion of disclosure. great point. i want to put you on -- >> thank you. did you want to say something? >> the supreme court, in the decision, they didn't seem to understand the reality of politics the way it's practiced. they seem to think that, it says in the majority decision, that in fact, all spending would be disclosed and everybody would know and they would know shareholders would know if companies were pouring money into campaigns in practice, that has turned out not to be true at
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all. >> one other item you have about commercial speech. you know, one of the reasons it's hard to regulate in the area is there are actually good values on both sides. it's not that some people want corruption and other people don't. so, you say, in the article, can a corporation engage in political speech that is not commercial? if it's purpose for existing is to maximize shareholder value, that's what corporations do, shouldn't all its political action be aimed at that objective? and that's so important because, of course, there are many corporations, including "the new york times," miramax which put out materials that engage politics and aren't just maximizing value. how do you think people would have responded and they saw mccain/feingold applied to moore's 9/11. >> that's completely right. that's what makes this subject so compelling and so hard, i
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think, is that fundamental american principles and values are actually in ledge mate conflict here. and a lot of people say all the time, why can't we have four-week campaign season like they have in great britain. >> right. >> answer the first amendment, which is -- provides powerful protection for speech in this country. the supreme court has taken the first amendment privilege, has taken a very expansive view of that. hard for us as journalists to quarrel with that. >> the first amendment is a good answer. richard wolffe has a question. >> good to see you again. >> richard. >> the president suggested, in a reason online chat that maybe you could campaign for a constitutional amendment to clean this whole thing up. can you imagine a political environment, any time soon, where people are so outraged, real people, voters, outraged enough about this that they would sign up to anything like a constitutional amendment? >> you know, richard, it's hard
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to imagine a process in which we'd be able to amend the constitution given how hard it to is get anything done in washington. reformers, what they point to, is eventuality they think the inev vittibility there will be a gigantic campaign finance scandal that will get the public's attention. people don't tend to be engaged for these questions, they've got other things to think about and walk around, too much advertise, too much money in politic, it's always been this, it always will be. i think there are other places you could start. look, this president hasn't, in -- he's had the opportunity to replace five of the six sitting members of the federal election commission, which could be doing something to regulate. it hasn't enacted yet. maybe in the second term he would. there are things well short of the constitutional amendment that would make a big difference. there are things that could be done here.
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>> james, i want to bring in nick, who you mentioned, who has been reporting on this. what do you think, nick, of the ideas of reform, both in the piece and what progress ins said, you neither either a constitutional amendment or a different approach from the fec, which has been partisan dead lock, again a problem from both parties. >> also a third option, more scrutiny from the internal revenue service. they have responsibility for regulating tax exempt groups that are the conduit for a lot of money and all of the anonymous money. to the extent that you think a little bit of transparency and sunlight will foster more discussion and more accountability, you don't see a lot of corporations putting money into super pacs. they put their money into nondisclosing educational groups. if congress, either forces the irs, or the irs chooses to tack a closer look whether the educational activities of the groups are campaign activities you could have a lot of reform or a lot more scrutiny of the money and clarity about it
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without a constitutional amendment. >> james, very briefly, last word. do you approve of that message? >> i completely approve of the message, ari, thank you. >> great. we're out of time. thank you for stopping by. that's james bennet. after the break, panel stays. the white house is defending free speech while it tries to calm violent protests in the middle east. can it do both? we'll look at that next on "now." my name is adam frucci and i'm the editor of i love new technology, so when i heard that american express and twitter were teaming up, i was pretty interested. turns out you just sync your american express card securely to your twitter account, tweet specific hashtags, and you'll get offers on things you love. this totally changes the way i think about membership. saving money on the things you want. to me, that's the membership effect. nice boots!
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earlier today, more large protests broke out in islamabad in response to the controversial video that sparked violence across the middle east last week, including that infamous attack that killed u.s. ambassador chris stevens. protests come as french embassies on high alert after a french magazine published offensive cartoons of the
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prophet muhammad. the white house affirmed right to free speech but asking some people not to speak. >> we don't question the right of something like this to be published. we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. >> now, joining us here on set, is rula jebreal, msnbc contribute somewhere author, of a book about the arab/israeli conflict, sole over 2 million copies, translated into 14 languages. >> thank you for having me. >> what do you think about what jay carney said in regards to the notion na the government of the united states can tell speakers, here or abroad, they don't like what they're saying they respect their right under the u.s. constitution to speak, but rather some of the people stop speaking in a way deemed offensive to muhammad and adherence of islam. >> i agree, we need to be responsible, some people need to connect their tongue to their brain. they play the game of extremists
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on the other side. instigators, maybe they don't do it thinking that it will instigate something or violence will erupt. but what they're doing is something simple, they put something so offensive to certain people they cannot handle it. they start grasping democracy. after the arab revolution we had people raised, born under dictatorship. free election, free society it will take time. when you have terry johns and people saying freedom of expression and then you offend millions of people in their belief, and from the other side, it's used, it's used and manipulated by extremists to have political leverage. it's a disaster. >> talk about the gap. you've spoken how egypt was a longstanding dictatorship and in good graces with u.s. leadership and gibbs money for support, up to date with a different regime in charge, and one of the
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problems here for public diplomacy the notion, tell me if you agree or disagree, a lot of people in the country don't believe us or don't believe our government when we say we do oppose this attack on islam but we also honor its right to exist and to sort of be said here or abroad. is that true? is that the problem? >> i mean, there are so many problems. obviously a lot of suspicion from both sides. i mean for a long time we supported mubarak, bin alley and told them our issue with you that you need to protect our interests in the middle east and defend the treaty with israel and other things. we need to change the dialogue, dynamic, pyramid of power turned around. we don't have one man. we have government. government respond to their own people. what we are talking about is to be not only responsible, to understand when freedom starts and when responsibility end. we know there's instigators all over the arab world.
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islam needs to be reformed. how to appeal to the people. >> one of the things that happens in the u.s. we jump on stories and drop them. there are still very active protests go on in libya, egypting pakistan, lebanon, iran related to this and not only this. what do you think the president needs to do, beyond the statements that have already been made to deal with what is a large crisis that related to u.s. interests? >> well, first of all, american values are not just about free speech. we went through a debate around the conventions respecting faith. it's very american to say we respect other people's faiths. it's not -- it's just not only christianity. we need to respect people of all faiths and people who don't have faith at all. the bigger question about american engagement is really comes to the point of democracy building. there need to be the room, the space in a cross arab countries where moderate parties, moderate islamist parties can emerge and
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that's what these demonstrations don't allow. and, if, an interesting part of the dynamic if everything america does is terrible and gets a mob out, there is no room for what we have, for instance, in an allied country like turkey, not muslim country, but arab country but muslim country, moderate islamists in power. by the way, secular state. that's the kind of democratic systems that need to emerge in these countries. that's a role only america can play. >> i want to gee to rula and then lynn. >> when he won the election in turkey, everybody thought it's another disaster. he's been in power for ten years. he's the best ally today to the u.s. in fighting iran and containing what's happening in syria and other areas. what some people in the republican party are talking about this edge gaungaging, and
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it will empower extremists what the instigators are doing they shut down on the civil society, the moderates and leave the debate. >> you're putting it on the instigators. >> to lynn and then hugo. >> one of best spokes people for the united states on this point is hillary rodham clinton, our secretary of state. in a way, just as bill clinton proved to be a better explainer of the president's policies than the president in some ways if you've heard the secretary of state around -- she's been traveling around the world, she has been a very good articulator of the american values that we're talking about that it's messy but we have our free speech at home. we are firming a top line message for the moment, seems to me, not so much talking about now great our freedom of speech is, which is our internal message, it that is united states government did not have anything to do with this, we don't condone it. we think it's wrong. >> you know, it's funny. you mentioned, hillary, that's an apt person to talk about here. another person is chris stevens himself.
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one of the things that i learned a lot from the tragedy that happened there was like, they kind of like, the kind of diplomacy that's happening there. i don't know how many other places around the world it's happening like that but chris steven was a dedicated public servant communicating with people on the ground in libya, benghazi who represented what i think is the best values of what the united states is trying to achieve in these places, working with the people there, understanding the language and the culture. >> he spoke the language. >> he did. and the truth is, is that i think this is -- when things flare up, there's like a couple of different kinds of responses. there's like what we need to do, get out of there be more passive, withdraw. and the other side, which is where romney is, it's like we need to be more belligerent, forceful. what is happening on the ground that we see from chris stevens is in between those things. >> that connects with point you were making, proposals in the house attach more conditions of egypt funding is not the right way to go? >> i think you need to continue building relationship with the
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governments because if you do what reagan did in '82 he empowered hezbollah. the most important neither lebanon that controls the region is hezbollah. if you disengage, you empower extremists, this is my message. >> thank you for joining us and sharing with us reporting from the field, rula jebreal. a couple of big stories, one fast and furious, newly released report finds no evidence holder knew about the sting behind the government's program but there were big indictments of lower level officials. stay with us. bob... oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor.
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wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. something this delicious could only come from nature. now from the maker of splenda sweeteners, discover nectresse. the only 100% natural, no-calorie sweetener made from the goodness of fruit. the rich, sweet taste of sugar. nothing artificial. ♪ it's all that sweet ever needs to be. new nectresse. sweetness naturally.
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welcome back to "what now?"
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. new doj inspector general report found there was no problem at the level of the attorney general eric holder in dealing with fast and furious. richard wolffe, es this the end of the story? >> no, but it should be a clear line for those of us who are sane and look at facts here. disast disastrously botched operation. no conspiracy, no coverup. eric holder is safe as he should have been all the way through. republicans overreached on the story but it won't stop them. >> quickly, other thing we want to get to, marijuana and taxes. three states legalizing pot. lynn you said this reminds you of the broader states debate. is it a good thing? >> absolutely. if you smoke it, tax it. >> redistribute. >> redistribute the proceeds. >> redistribute the pot proceeds. >> no different than cigarettes. >> big thank you to lynn, nicholas, richard, hugo.
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alex wagner back in the claire form noon eastern. "andrea mitchell reports" is report. chris cillizza is in the chair. good afternoon. >> hello, glad we coordinated on striped ties today. >> always. >> make me feel good. e-mail in the morning, get it taken care of. moderate mitt softening his tone on key issues. more popular than ever, bill clinton making his case for optimism in a new time cover story. a closer look at key senate races up for grabs next on "andrea mitchell reports." ♪
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hurry in before they're all gone! until i got a job in the big apple. becoming a fulltime indoor cat wasn't easy for atti. but he had purina cat chow indoor. he absolutely loved it. and i knew he was getting everything he needed to stay healthy indoors. and after a couple of weeks, i knew we were finally home! [ female announcer ] purina cat chow indoor. and for a delicious way to help maintain a healthy weight, try new purina cat chow healthy weight. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- the romney reset. after a rough couple of weeks the romney campaign announces a retooled strategy. it's more public appearances, more joint events with paul ryan and new bus tour through the battlegrounds. mr. moderate. after refusing to initially back down on his hidden

NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC September 20, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PDT

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Obama 6, Mitt Romney 6, John Boehner 5, Washington 4, Paul Ryan 4, Citi 3, Chris Stevens 3, Islam 3, Purina 3, Richard Wolffe 3, Andrea Mitchell 3, Legalzoom 2, Medicare 2, Hezbollah 2, Celebrex 2, Msnbc 2, Romney 2, New York 2, Irs 2, Duracell 2
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